Central Board Room 200 MVP Student Leadership Center, Ateneo de Manila University

 

Statement on the Upcoming Verdict on the Impeachment Of Chief Justice Renato Corona On May 22nd, Chief Justice Renato Corona finally appeared before the Senate Impeachment Court as the last witness of the defense in his ongoing impeachment trial. After an unexpected hypoglycemic episode, he returned on May 24 and said that he has a total of $2.4M distributed in four different dollar accounts. He cited RA 6426, the Foreign Currency Deposit Act, as a basis for not declaring these accounts in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), as this law prohibits the disclosure of an individual’s foreign currency accounts by any Philippine bank. As the trial comes to an end, it seems that the main point of contention has to do with the second article of impeachment, which is the misdeclaration of the Chief Justice’s SALN. Whether the Chief Justice’s non-disclosure of the four dollar accounts in his SALN is “a culpable violation of the Constitution and/or a betrayal of public trust” or not is now for the senator-judges to decide. The SALN is an important document to uphold transparency and accountability among our public officials. According to the Philippine Constitution, all public officials are required to submit a declaration of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. The decision of the impeachment court will set a precedent for the comprehensiveness of other public officials’ SALNs to be filed in the future, as well as the level of transparency that our government is committed to demonstrate. As Ateneans, we are taught that at the heart of genuine service lie the values of truth and honesty, something which we hope the outcome of this impeachment trial will uphold. We believe in open discourse and in the genuine search for truth. Over the course of the trial, it seemed clear that this was not the spirit in which matters were proceeding. Statements were made on both sides with more of an eye towards grandstanding than towards calm, rational discussion of issues and principles, to the point that the event seemed more like a sensationalized media event than an honest quest for answers. The Sanggunian recognizes the merits of the trial that has occurred, for it has promoted the value of checks and balances among our government units and seems to be headed towards an actual conclusion; however, we believe it could have been conducted in a manner more befitting the Filipino people, particularly in light of the time and money spent in order to facilitate it. We believe that in the interest of fairness and justice, the Senate of the Philippines should deliver a verdict worthy of our nation.  
We are your sole autonomous student government. We voice out your concerns. We protect your welfare. We form the community. We are entrusted to lead and committed to serve. We are your SANGGUNIAN.
A member of BUKLOD ATENISTA, the alliance of student governments of Jesuit tertiary education institutions in the Philippines  

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